Grandma had it right: Listen to your elders! Research released this week indicates that the elderly are actually smarter when it comes to knowing how to deal with conflicts, uncertainty and change. Imagine that… Age it seems may erode memory, the ability to master trivia, and even reasoning skills. But along with those losses comes one invaluable blessing that more traditional societies have long valued – “social wisdom.”

“Age effects on wisdom hold at every level of social class, education, and IQ,” said researcher Richard Nisbett of the University of Michigan. His team found that older people are more likely than young and middle-aged individuals to acknowledge and accept values differences. They are more accepting of change over time and of others’ points of view. Their report appears in April’s addition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Nisbett sums up his findings this way: “Our results do indicate that the elderly have some advantages for analysis of social problems.”

God bless them! Let’s offer a prayer of thanks for the older and wiser among us…

“God you grant us only a few short years of life on this earth. It seems sometimes that youth is indeed wasted on the young and that by the time we have the wisdom of age we have lost the strength to use it. But Lord, we do thank you that you have preserved and passed along the wisdom of experience in the and through the lives of those among us who have lived enough years to know the difference between what seems prudent and what truly is prudent. God, give us all enough “wisdom” ourselves to pause and ask and then rely upon the true wisdom of our elders. Give them encouragement to apply their age advantage and give them the strength to stay engaged enough to pass along their wealth of wisdom and their legacy of understanding. We open our lives, our families, our neighborhoods and our entire society to this buried treasure of wisdom. Convert us to truly value human life in all forms and stages. We thank you for the aging ones among us. In Jesus…”  

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